[728]: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks
by Emily Barr
Publication Date: January 12th, 2017
Stand Alone
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


This book was repetitive af. But then again, that was the point. I suppose it only makes sense when you have a character who goes through a memory reset of sorts as soon as she falls asleep. And such is the state of Flora Banks’ life.

It’s odd, disconcerting, and sad as hell. I actually felt bad for Flora. It’s tough navigating through life without a memory of what happened the day before. So she writes these little reminders for herself. Also, with her memory as frail as it is, what kind of parents would leave her alone?! I mean, I get that they have another child that was in a perilous medical emergency but come on. Leaving her in the care of another teen is simply irresponsible. Especially when Flora ended up being alone for the duration of their being away due to some unforeseen events.

So her brain doesn’t have a great memory bank to begin with. Anything she does the day before she forgets. But when she kisses this boy, the memory stuck. What does our Flora do? She goes off on her own to find this boy (who, by the way was her bff’s boyfriend) in the Arctic, no less! The freaking ARCTIC, yo. As a mom, I was terrified for her. The lengths she went through to find this boy was just insanity. I also get that this lone memory of her kissing the boy was sort of an anchor she held on to, but grrrl. GRRRL. Seriously. Who does that?! I cannot with this girl.

Back to the repetitive nature of this book, it was really a great representation of her brain disorder. She’s like, Dory, ya know? So she reads this notebook of her life that her mom wrote for her every morning so she’ll remember who she is. But still. It got tiresome so fast that I started skimming as soon as she starts rehashing her life like a Groundhog Day that never ends. Flora also has this uncanny child-like voice. Since she hasn’t been able to hold a memory since she was 10 years old, her describing what went on between her and the boy left me feeling a little strange.

In the end, the book didn’t do it for me. I vacillated between horrification at her parents who left her alone, and strange wonder at a girl who was brave enough to go after the one thing that made her feel “normal” for once.

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[720]: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Ruby
by Cynthia Bond


This was such a difficult book to read and even harder to decipher. On the surface, it’s the story of a woman scorned for being a daughter of a black woman and a white man. Her beauty became the scourge that she carried most of her life; the source of her strength and frailties. The torment that had brought her insanity in her later life.

From the very young age, she’s known indescribable abuse. Her mother left her to escape the same abuse Ruby would be subjected to growing up. At 10, she was sold to a madam who would sell her every night to men of despicable character. At 13, she would lose her child who would torment her for the rest of her life. In 1950, she would escape to New York only to do the same thing over again.

This book is ripe with the kind of African American history that I never knew existed. In the South where satanism and sexual abuse seemed to go hand-in-hand in the darkest, depraved way possible. It was suffused in magical realism of the religious kind. Where the “power of the Lord” compels men to “train” girls of such young age to “hone their craft”. Is it any wonder Ruby lost her mind? A screeching, half-naked woman who carries with her the souls of dead children; forever haunted by a being who would never let her rest.

 In the midst of the overall depressing history was a slight ray of hope in the person of Ephram Jennings. He ignored ridicule and the scorn of everyone in town, including that of his sister whom he called, “mama”. They, too, came from a home who’ve seen the worst abuses from the hands of their father. In this effect, you can say that it’s love story. A love story in the simplest of form; one that had the ability to save a person from oneself.

Ruby is a heavy read – heavier than I’ve anticipated. I read it at a time when I was feeling a little lost myself so my initial rating was a little low. I remember being furious at the townspeople who have judged Ruby and the men who took advantage of someone who was not in their full mental capacity. Filthy or not, they came to her for sex regardless if she’s covered in weeks’ worth of grime. I was mad at Ruby for pushing Ephram away and I was mad at Ephram for not standing up to Ruby. This book was a real story of survival, of madness and of love. It was more often difficult but with a clearer mind, you’ll find the beauty of Ms. Bond’s words.

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Morsels [18]: The Protector and Trust

27860802 The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Forever | September 6th, 2016
Paperback, 384 pp.
Source: Bought
Adult Fiction | Romance | Suspense
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


This is one of those many occasions when I let the cover duped me into thinking I’m in for a great read. Bodyguard romances come once in a blue moon that when I see one, I’m instantly chomping at he bits to read it.

Unfortunately, The Protector was a disappointing read. The plot was a slog and the romance was lacklustre. Aside from the attractiveness of the two characters, there wasn’t much there – no chemistry to speak of or any personality developments to make it worth my while. The writing was passable, if a little plebian. It tried so hard to create a sexual tension but I saw through the frail attempt.

When you’re able to judge a book midway through and know that there’s nothing else it could offer, you know the pretty cover led you astray again. Don’t get me wrong, I finished it cover to cover and gave it fair chance but when you can’t even pretend to care about the characters in the slightest bit, you know you’re beating a dead horse.

Don’t expect too much.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

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Goodreads Summary
Trust by Jana Aston
Series: Wrong, #3 | Kindle Edition
Self Published | November 8th, 3016
Source: Bought
Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating 4 out of 5 Stars


I have read the first two books from this series and skipped the litte novella in between. I will probably read that at some point, but I found this book while browsing through Amazon a couple of days ago and couldn’t resist. Wrong series is a lot of fun. It’s a funny, no-holds barred sexy read. I was looking forward to reading Chloe’s story because she’s one of those awkward women I love reading about. The idea that we might kindred spirits occur to me in more ways than one.

Anyway, this is her story and how she kept finding herself in awkward, humorous situations in the most unintentional way. She’s ridiculous sometimes which makes her all the more adorable! She has a thing for federal agents in suits. Enter Boyd Gallagher, Sophie’s half brother. In as much as the book above left me feeling cold, Trust by Jana Aston left me hot and bothered. Chloe and Boyd has a natural chemistry that’s very convincing.

My only complaint is that for a full lenght novel, this sure feels very short. Regardless, this was a solid romance meant to whisk you away from the miseries of your day.

 

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[681]: Twisted Palace by Erin Watt

29519517 Twisted Palace by Erin Watt
Series: The Royals, #3
Everafter Romance | October 17th, 2016
Source: Bought, Kindle Edition
New Adult Fiction | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


These Royals will ruin you…

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.

Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.


SPOILERS AHEAD: 

I can’t even with this book. Someone should’ve warned me that it will make me so mad and that I’m better off skipping. The general feeling I went through was extreme anger at had constantly pondered how evil everyone is!  And what the hell was that, Ella? Where the fuck was the spunk you were famous for from the first two books? It’s like you’ve decided to let everybody walk all over you. Gah.

In case it’s not obvious from my ranty opening paragraph, I did not enjoy this book one bit. [Insert GIF of Bradley Cooper from Silver Linings Playbook throwing a book out the window here.] Sigh. 

The end of the second book had Reed getting picked up by cops for allegedly killing Brooke. As if that wasn’t enough to have us salivating for Twisted Palace, Ella’s supposedly dead father showed up out of the blue. And then there’s the whole, Ella-is-still-a-virgin-because-Reed-wouldn’t-put-out thing — all these added to the general anxiety and excitement for this series finale. So of course,  I had to make time for this book. But as far as series endings go, this was horrible. I’m not talking about the writing at all. I’m talking about how miserable it was. Unfortunate, considering, many have anticipated for this release and to have us go through what we went through was just awful.

In the spirit of honesty, I skipped a shit load of things I couldn’t bring myself to read: Steve’s assholery, Dinah’s bitchery, and Ella’s bid for martyrdom. There is nothing worse than having an overwhelming feeling of anger while reading a book. And since I was reading it on my iPad, the swiping got too real, y’all. It was not fun and it defeats the purpose of finding the joy in reading.

As far as mysteries go, the authors didn’t provide any red herrings to chase. Which was frustrating enough because I felt like everyone trying to solve the case was chasing their tails. I’m glad, however, that Ella and Reed weren’t the ones who solved the mystery of the killer’s identity. Because I hate convenience in mystery.

With that being said, I stand by my earlier sentiment that this was a miserable installment. The ending was clean, abrupt, and unfortunately, unsatisfactory.

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[653]: Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney

26033642 Opportunity Knocks by Alison Sweeney
Stand Alone
Source: Publisher
Hachette Books | April 5th, 2016
Contemporary Fiction | Romance
Rating 2 out of 5 Stars


Alex Cleary has 48 hours to resolve the nightmare her dream job has become…and the clock is ticking.

Alex Cleary has careened from one dead-end position to another. But suddenly the ingenious makeup artist finds her distinct talents are valued by none other than lifestyle-empire mogul Hillary P.–renowned for her golden touch in broadcast and print media, as well as for her hair-trigger temper. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the daytime television scene that Alex is determined not to screw up.

Then a frank word in the wrong ear puts Alex’s job on the line. Alex anticipates Hillary’s rage, but she can’t believe that this multimillionaire is holding her newest staffer to a nondisclosure agreement that demands reparation of 5 million dollars.

Alex has only 48 hours to repair the damage. And with a vengeful Hillary P. watching the clock, the devil will have her due…


So I remember now why I don’t enjoy reading celebrity-written novels. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are actually talented celebrity writers out there, but you can tell this one was written by an amateur because it shows. She was fond of telling instead of showing and the characters are nothing but cardboard cutouts possessing the personalities of bland gruel. Let’s not even talk about the plot. If you think Hollywood is far out of realism, this book blows that perception out into outer space.

Alex Cleary is a fledgling makeup artist who hasn’t made it to Hollywood. She knows what she wants to do but just hadn’t quite caught a break. For now, she’s taking small time gigs while helping out in her family’s pool business along with her on-again, off again boyfriend. Who, by the way, seems to be only interested in her for the career her family name can afford him. On the other hand, hers wasn’t going anywhere, and her life is at a standstill.  Until she finally snags the opportunity of a lifetime: working as Hillary P.’s (even her name sounds pretentious *gag* ) makeup artist.

Lauded as a Devil Wears Prada wannabe, Opportunity Knocks tells the story about how easily it is for Hollywood to squash your dreams. Actor or not, it’s a shark infested water and you’re a bleeding, flailing bait. Alex Cleary finds herself on the cusp of a breakthrough but when she trusted the wrong people, it was all over even before it begins. Hillary P. is your typical egomaniacal villain bent on showing off her influence and power. She’s rude, a devil of a diva, and she makes sure everyone knows just how big her head is.

The writing is barely passable; the only good thing it had going for it was the fact that you’ll fly through this book. Though, now that I’ve thought about it, I think I skimmed a lot of nonsense. The characters are what you see what you get – no depths, no charms. They are just there to play their parts. You don’t get to know them any deeper than what’s there on the pages. Overall, I’m just happy I gave her work a chance. At least I know now to avoid them in the future.

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[650]: Radiance by Grace Draven

24473763 Radiance by Grace Draven
Series: Wraith Kings, #1
Self-Published | January 13th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.


I keep trying to get past my aversion to fantasy because I really do feel bad about it. I mean, besides Science Fiction, I think it’s a genre where an author’s ability to build spectacular worlds can truly shine. I’m thinking maybe it’s because I haven’t been picking the right books? That my selection process is solely based on whether or not a book is high-fantasy? If it is, it doesn’t make the cut. Perhaps if I try the works of say, Brandon Sanderson or RA Salvatore, it would blow my mind and therefore would grow to appreciate it.

Sometimes, I think some book god is messing with me. The excuse that I use often before was that I don’t have the patience for intricate world-building. That the book must consist of romance first and foremost in order for me to enjoy it. Well, I’ve read a couple of fantasy novels in the last couple of weeks where the romance makes up the bulk of the story, but I’m still left scratching my head.

Radiance, for all intents and purposes, is a romance novel packaged as a light fantasy read. There was no quest and no curse. Just a couple of kids who aren’t meant to be together who somehow found themselves married in order to secure prosperity and unity between two kingdoms.

THAT’S IT.

The End.

I kid you not.

As far as fantasy goes, this one was an ice-skater. And by that, I mean the author only skims the surface of the story. There was no depth or layers and not even a thin ice to give you a glimpse of what’s below the surface. The characters are pretty much one-dimensional, too. They don’t offer much in terms of emotions or personality. There was no chemistry to speak of so the romance was flaccid in as much as the straight-as-a-ruler plot is. Seriously, I almost fell asleep a number of times while listening to the audio book and it had nothing to do with the narrator but more about the lack of suspense or conflict in the storyline. I do, however, enjoyed the way they turned insults into endearments. It broke the monotonous dialogue just a bit.

I’m a bit of the odd duck in my opinion of this book, though. You have to take in consideration that I’m not a fan of the genre. Also, if you’re a reader of high fantasy, this book might not satisfy you. It was pure romance but the kind that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t able to empathize with the characters so the series was doomed from the start.

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[616]: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

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While I’ve been a fan of reading Romance in Regency London, there is something about this kind of London I’m not too enthused about: Evil lurking in the dark alleys, soul-sucking demons on the prowl, and a secret society tasked to stop this darkness from spreading. While that may sound enjoyable to some, I found my attention straying a number of times whilst in the cusp of this 496-page tome from Alison Goodman.

All told, I was bored. There was no sense of urgency given the severity of what was facing this exclusive club (and the world for that matter). Steampunk has never been my strong suit. And since you can taste a bit of that in this book, it added to the overwhelming feeling of ennui. The story moved in the most sluggish pace that I could tolerate. I kept hoping that there would be something great to look forward to around the bend, but everything was irritatingly flaccid and predictable. There were no valleys or peaks. Even the confrontations between Reclaimers and Deceivers fell in a resounding thud.

If you’re looking for any romance, it might be best if you look somewhere else. The characters held no personality whatsoever, and at times, the tensions between Lady Helen and Lord Carlston seemed forced. I admire the struggle that Lady Helen went through in order to make a decision on what she needed to do, but it took her forever and a day to come to a conclusion. Her waffling didn’t help any either.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m so glad I don’t live in that time when I’m expected to be subversive, mild-mannered and dependent on the menfolk. I probably would’ve ended up in the dungeon if it were the case.

REASONS TO READ THE DARK DAYS CLUB

  • If you’re a fan of Regency London.
  • If you like reading about demons and the secret society that can defeat them.
  • If you wouldn’t mind waiting for a heroine to come into her powers (which might happen in the next book because she was sorely disappointing in this one).
  • If you like slow burn romance.
  • If you enjoy steampunk(ish) reads.

    GOODREADS SUMMARY | Viking Books for Young Readers | January 26th, 2016 | Chapters | Amazon


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[599]: In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

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I must admit that my initial reaction when I heard that Judy Blume was coming out with a new novel was ecstasy. Imagine being a part of a generation that lives in the same era as beloved as Ms. Blume?  I can only imagine it being a blessing to some. And this from a reader who didn’t grow up reading her books. Her reputation proceeds her. In as much as Margaret Atwood and Stephen King in their respective genres.

This book, however, was not what I’d expected. The biggest obstacle for me was the lack of concise plot direction. The story was about the events that happened back in 50’s when a town in New Jersey was plagued with air disasters. This tells the story of the people that were affected. I would like to argue that Blume didn’t really explore how, though. In fact, it only showed that their lives turned out every which way simply because – well, life. It went on regardless of the tragedies that happened. No one developed a debilitating fear of flying because they witnessed the plane crashes. It is but a story to be told without any consequent reaction to the reader.

Another hindrance was the overwhelming number of narrators that I had a hard time keeping track of. An overpopulation, as it were. It contributed to my disconnection with the story as a whole. Because when everyone vies for my attention, the more I become stingy with affection. I’m a cold-hearted bitch reader, I know. And I feel doubly bad knowing that Ms. Blume practically wrote this novel all her life. I hate reducing a lifetime of work into a badly-written review. But trust me, it’s not my intention at all. Besides, I’m sure I’m only going to be one faint voice amongst Blume’s rejoicers.


In the Unlikely Event is published by Double Day Canada. Published, June 2nd, 2015. 2 stars out of 5. 


 

 

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[595]: Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

20909906 Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Stand-Alone
Simon & Schuster Canada | ARC Paperback, 385 pp.
Publication Date: November 10th, 2015
Young Adult | Suspense | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.

Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…


It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by this author.  I don’t remember what it’s like, but after a few chapters, I was quickly reminded of the kind of writing I was in for. Take that with a grain of salt.

STELLA GORDON IS AN ACQUIRED TASTE

Picture this:  You’re chilling with your buddies one Saturday night. In walks your buddy and his insufferable girlfriend, who, by the way, was on his case again because they were supposed to go see an art show instead of hanging out. An hour of her pestering him and ordering him around was starting to get on your nerves. Everyone in the room was eye rolling at her antics. Because one more bullcrap about them missing out on a once in a lifetime showing and you’re going to projectile vomit (it was melted jelly beans on canvass. Give me a fucking break). Now, you’re trying to resist. You’re trying your best to show support for your buddy and the woman he loves. But good God Almighty, you want to cut a bitch.

THAT is how I felt about Stella. She was petulant, somewhat ungrateful with a huge chip on her shoulders. The way she went on and on about how much her life sucks being in WitSec makes it seemed like she’s been on it for years. In the meantime, it’s only been a few weeks. It may sound like I was a little bit short on patience with her, but she did her best to inspire dislike. She has a problem with authority. You would think witnessing a brutal murder would change her, but nooo. She was awful. Now I know everyone is saying that she goes through a character development throughout the novel, but for me, her attitude left a lasting impression. And that is a shame because I felt like the plot was good. Unfortunately, Stella’s antics took away the spotlight.

IN RETROSPECT

Sometimes, I can already tell when a book wasn’t going to workout in as little as a few pages. It’s the way it’s written and how the character sounds like. I thought Stella acted like an intolerable brat and I couldn’t get past that.  The majority of the novel was focused on Stella adapting to the quiet country life; trying to establish a semblance of normalcy amidst fear of being killed.  Fitzpatrick took some of the stereotypes in farm living and ran with it. The twist was a little off field if a little convenient. I feel awful because, at the end of it all, I was just happy it was over.

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[590]: The Liar by Nora Roberts

23281906-1 The Liar by Nora Roberts
Penguin Publishing Group | Hardcover, 501 pp.
April 14th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Romantic Suspense
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …

The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning …


Whenever I feel the onset of boredom from whatever book I’m reading, I tend to turn to Romantic Suspense to jump start my waning interest. Now, my conventional drug is Sandra Brown, but I’ve always been interested in other authors who are a household name in this genre. Like, Nora Roberts, for example. I haven’t had much experience with her books. Aside from a couple of her In Death books (which I loved), I’ve not had the chance to read anything from her extensive library. This week, I finally decided to check her out for myself.

TILL DEBT DO US PART

Shelby Foxworth has a lot to learn about the man with whom she married. It’s a shame that she had to learn all about him posthumously. Recently widowed, the once prosperous life that she’d grown accustomed to was apparently nothing but a sham. As it didn’t take long for all the debtors to come knocking on her door a few days after her husband “drowned” in a boating accident. In debt to the tune of a couple of million dollars, Shelby meticulously planned out how she would be able to pay all the debts her husband incurred. Little by little, she’d find out that the man she married lived a duplicitous life.

THE ROAD TO TENNESEE IS LONG

Shelby was one of those women who has the admirable trait of being able to pick herself up no matter how far she’d fallen. The two-million dollar debt should’ve been debilitating to some, but that didn’t deter her from wanting to move on and build a life for her and her daughter. After finding out that Richard was a con-man who victimized the wealthy, she high-tailed it back to her hometown and into the welcoming arms of her family. Here, she tried to bridge the rift between her and her loved ones when she decided to marry Richard. Because Richard was a controlling husband; one who preferred their wives to be docile and alone.

For the first time in her life, she was able to see that there could be a future for her and Callie, her daughter. Surrounded by family, old friends, and new acquaintances. She also meets Griffin; a man determined to help her see that she could trust a man to take care of her and Callie without having to incapacitate her independence.

The novel is long and arduous, unfortunately. I am not that familiar with her method of storytelling, but I felt like it could’ve used a chunk of trimming. Since this book was supposed to be Romantic Suspense, it was neither romantic nor suspenseful. In fact, the mystery was so transparent that a reader could see the twist from the get-go.

IN RETROSPECT

This book is not in the speed of her In Death series. It was slow – as slow as molasses in the winter. In my opinion, the story could’ve been told in 300 pages or less. But I suppose Roberts wanted to show Shelby go through a reborn of sorts.

 

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